Golf Course Management

OCT 2017

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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56 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 10.17 Speed + style With any golf course renovation, there is pressure to produce within an established time frame. Jim Nagle and I have done our share of fast-tracked projects, but the Davenport Country Club renovation demanded the quickest turn- around of any of them. We were able to work at such an incredible pace by solidifying a thorough vision for the renovation — thinking through every aspect of the course, every feature relative to every golfer, maintenance, and project costs — be- fore construction began. Jim and I had been working together for 17 years at that point, and our unified, coordinated approach meant we could tag-team and collaborate on-site to get things done swiftly but without compromising quality. Superintendent Dean Sparks was really the hub of the wheel. Superinten- dents are excellent planners, and Dean's meticulous planning and detailed timeline were what allowed this to happen in such a small window. A project of this magni- tude absolutely requires someone who can be on-site every day and is prepared in every way to handle the scope of the work. Dean was flexible and able to make decisions on the fly, and he'd trained his crew very well leading up to the project. Everyone worked well together, which contributed to the necessary efficiency. While the speed of the project no doubt made it unique, for Jim and I, the opportunity to do something so detail- focused and authenticity-driven with a Charles Hugh Alison design was tremen- dously special. We were committed to getting the style right, but also invoked a little artistic license, taking cues on bunkers from another Alison course, Hi- rono Golf Club in Japan. We'd used this method before — borrowing architecture that worked in other places and would make a course better, but that was still completely authentic to the designer. We are extremely happy with the results at Davenport Country Club. — Ron Forse, Forse Design DCC had undergone several small-scale renovations over its 90-year history, but by 2014, the course would no longer accommo - date modern equipment, and bunkers needed to be replaced, tees leveled, and pin locations increased on small greens. Formal discussions of a major renovation began in 2012. I became the superintendent at DCC in March 2014, although my career had started at the club as a summer employee during high school. I'm originally from Bettendorf, Iowa, and the opportunity to come home as well as help bring DCC and the Quad Cit - ies to national recognition through an im- proved, championship-feel golf course was a no-brainer for me. Throughout my 15 previ - ous years in the superintendent profession, I'd completed major renovations for the TPC Network and at Pete Dye's Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. My experience en - compassed everything from multimillion-dol- lar projects to smaller initiatives carried out in- house because of financial restraints. The story of Davenport CC's renovation touches on the challenges of tackling large- scale projects while striving to lose as little of the golf season as possible. This is how I planned for an almost complete renovation to happen in just a 50-day construction window beginning in July 2014, with a target opening date of May 1 the following year. Reviving the past In 2013, DCC selected the Forse Design team of Ron Forse and Jim Nagle to be the architects, given their vast experience with early-1900s golf course architecture. Return - ing DCC to its original design and playing features became the pair's primary focus. To achieve this, greens needed to be expanded, tees repositioned and rebuilt to original loca - tions, and fairway bunkers brought back into play. Several tees had, over time, moved to the left or right of the hole and created a differ - ent angle of play. Ron and Jim's vision was for each golf hole to play similarly despite golf - ers' different skill levels. All bunkers would be entirely rebuilt and given flat bottoms, and greenside bunkers would be repositioned with spectacular views of the putting surfaces through restoration of their original 3- to 5-foot faces. Fairways would be expanded, and the new selection of grasses — 007 creep - ing bentgrass and rhizomatous tall fescue (RTF) for roughs — would foster a firm and fast playing surface with challenging rough Channeling Charles: Enlarging greens was a component of DCC's "retro rebuild," aimed at reflecting the template Charles Hugh Alison came up with in the 1920s. Shown here is the renovated 18th green.

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